T Subba Row(1856-90) gave the Lectures on Bhagavad-Gita in the year 1886 (December).
In the first Lecture itself, he stated his ‘observations’ on the Seven Principles (as adopted by Theosophical literature); and raised his comments as to how the division is ‘unscientific’ and ‘not sanctioned’ by any Hindu scriptures. Thereupon, correspondence ensued between HPB, TSR and many other interested parties. This ultimately led to a crisis and TSR along with some of his students left the Society. It is felt, and also part of record, that the ‘schism’ as to the Principles was the main Cause of his leaving the Society.
It seems, after a long duration of time and availability of certain correspondence, that this is not the “Cause” at all.
TSR had, all the time, his own conservative ideas upon the secrets of Occult Science and its openness to all and sundry. He was willing to teach to those ‘who he considered eligible to receive’ and to the ‘extent they could advantage by that knowledge’.
His feeling was that she was revealing ‘much’ to the ‘profane’ and this pertinent notion was working in his mind at the time.
In one of the letters to A P Sinnett, (p.95-6 of Letters of HPB to APS) she writes thus:
Has he (T S R) not gravely given out to Mr and Mrs C O that I was henceforth ‘a shell deserted and abandoned by the Masters?’ When I took him for it to task, he answered: ‘You have been guilty of the most terrible of crimes. You have given out secrets of Occultism – the most sacred and the most hidden. Rather that you should be sacrificed than that which was never meant for European minds people had too much faith in you. It was time to throw doubt into their minds. Otherwise they should have pumped out of you all that you know.’ And he is acting on that principle.’
The ‘Protest’ that appeared in the “Path’ is also on record as one of the last straws for his resignation.
He did not want many items of information mentioned therein to be brought out. That he liked the ‘Proem’ is what he told HSO. During his talks on Bhagavad-Gita, TSR did mention about ‘The secret Doctrine’. The following are the references:
A clear discussion of these questions will lead us into consideration that go far down into the mysteries of occult science, and to explain which I should have to take into account a number of theories that can only be communicated at time of initiation. Possibly some light will be thrown upon the subject in the forthcoming “Secret Doctrine,” but it would be premature for me to discuss the question at this stage. (Last part of Lecture 2)
An attempt will be made in the “Secret Doctrine” to indicate the nature of this mystery (Krishna speaking from the stand-point of Logos in abstract), as far as possible, but it must not be imagined that the veil will be completely drawn, and the total mystery will be revealed. Only hints will be given by the help of which you will have to examine and understand the subject, (3rd Lecture)
From the above, it is clear and evident that he did not abandon the idea of hisassisting in the writing of the Secret Doctrine, at least by that time (end of 1886).
Another point to be noticed is that Col. Olcott or any other listener of the Bhagavad-Gita talks did not anticipate that his statement on the ‘Principles’ would blow that high to bring the crisis.
The diary entries of Col. Olcott read thus:
On 27 Dec 1886: Subba Row lectured at 9-00 am very ably on the Gita.
On 31 Dec 1886: Subba Row gave his fourth lecture this morning to the admiration of everybody. A marvelous intellect – clear and profound.
Col. Olcott always felt that the differences are mainly due to the ‘middle-men’.
Coming back to the differences on Principles, it is earlier stated how HPB balance the situation, comfortably well, in her Chapter in ‘The Secret Doctrine’, as also in her ‘The Key to Theosophy’.
The differences upon philosophical systems of thought and adaptation by people are not uncommon. The parting of ways must be because of the reasons, as explained
Dr N C Ramanujachary
1. TSR was a high chela of Master M, who was also the Guru of HPB.
2. TSR had stated that every chela of every Master was required to join TS. (Launch of TS was so important.)
3. Launching was a very major undertaking of the Brotherhood and TSR should be fully aware of it.
4. Leaving TS was a major decision and TSR should have known the full consequences.
5. It may be recalled that in one of the Mahatma Letter to APS, there is a comment that at one stage of the progress of the chela, the chela is left totally to his/her judgement on all matters and may even ignore or go against his Guru.
In view of the above, it is quite possible that TSR was at that stage and was on trial to see if he comes through successfully. Possibly his resignation from TS was an indication that he made that decision on his own, even though in normal circumstances he would not have done it. Possibly the very painful physical ailment at the time of his death may be one of the consequences. We may never know.
His knowing well about the occult status of HPB and her being a chela of Master M and her working under the direction of her Guru in her literary work on occult matters, he should have known HPB is the last person to write about occult matters that should never be revealed.
So his philosophical and other disagreement with her may be just a cover for his real reasons for leaving TS which he never wanted anyone to know.
It would also be worthwhile to look into the papers in the archives at Adyar to see if there are any papers left by HPB on this topic which may throw some light on this unexplained decision.
These are just my speculation.
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